Explore the most popular forest trails in George Washington National Forest with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

backpacking
20 hours ago

This is a challenging hike depending on if you split up the mileage or not. I definitely suggest going clockwise, otherwise you will face a challenging up hill to close out your hike. I’d say if you are in shape without a heavy pack this is a doable day hike. I backpacked this one. Got in at 9:30pm and night hiked the 1.6 to where the trail forks for the loop. Decided to set up camp here. Got up at 6am and was off on the trail at 7a. The clockwise route sets up the day with most of the great views. Given it to was calling for rain in the afternoon going clockwise was important for me to catch the views without rain clouds. I got all the way to Harpers Shelter by 10:30am. And I decided I was going to try and bag the rest of the trail. Hit a wall with about 3-4 mi left. Somehow managed to muscle through it (I think getting rained on is a good motivator). I’d say this is a manageable 2 day backpacking hike. Don’t do what I did! Get there at a decent time and split the miles in half. On the non AT portion of the trail there is a pretty good waterfall. Water was fine for the entire trip (on May 25th) but I could see the AT portion being a problem if there is a dry spout. More abundant on the other side. Also this was a perfect time of the year to do it. Got to chat with tons of through hikers. And gave a couple of them a ride to Devils Backbone (nearby craft brewery) at the end of my hike.

So hard. Gorgeous. Totally worth the effort.

Easy!
RovingNomad!

It is a pretty gentle climb, be ready for water crossings. After several inches of rain the night before the crossings we're all still manageable.

backpacking
5 days ago

In short, the overlooks were underwhelming because of the rain/fog. The waterfalls made up for it and were overwhelming because of the amount of rain. May-Har trail was fantastic and with clear skies, the overlooks would have been too.

Our '91 XJ has a 4" lift and 33" tires
This trail was not very challenging for us but we chose it because we were traveling alone (no extra spotters or tow assistance) and had our 7yo kid and two dogs with us. We had a lovely trip and made it through in a 3-4 hours, while taking plenty of time to explore the creeks, puddles, and overlooks. Before we got there, there had been several days of rain, and a massive thunderstorm the night before, so the puddles were quite deep. Our XJ handled them all just fine, but there were a few I would not recommend trying in a stock vehicle; don't go right after it rains unless you have a lift! The 0.8 mile bypass/alternate trail on the north half of Bald Mountain trail was more challenging than the main trail, but not impossible (we were coming down the hill) for stock vehicles with drivers who have been wheeling before.
My husband's AT&T iPhone was able to get at least one bar of cell service for most of the trip, but there's very little connectivity on the way there.
Overall, this would be a fun trip for anyone who's been wheeling before, but probably not engaging enough for experienced drivers who are looking for a real challenge.
Camping at Sherando Lake Recreational Park was a dream, but there are a bunch of (free) campsites with fire pits near the Southern trailhead by the Blue Ridge Parkway where we will camp if we go again. 4/5 stars, will do again. :)

we loved this but our dog was way more excited to get to the top and splash around

hiking
10 days ago

Got a little lost at one point and there was one place of some fairly serious rock scrambling, but the view was amazing and a picnic at the top just fantastic.

The biggest thing to note on this is the one way part of the loop to and from the shelter. Once at the shelter it was not clear to us to retrace our steps, so we ended up another mile out at a family cemetery (certainly worth visiting) but that put us off our timing and we lost out on completing the loop. So remember when you leave the loop for the shelter (a good place for lunch) that you will retrace your steps to get back to the loop to continue.

I took my mother on this hike for Mother’s Day. It was more technical in spots than I was expecting but definitively manageable. The views were beautiful. We hiked to the second overlook for a total of 2.7 miles.

Great climb... Breathtaking views!!

13 days ago

Very good hike, just decent views. The views are on the way up. The end is just where a few trails come together.

Great view at the end for a relatively short hike.

hiking
14 days ago

Only did the 4 mile( 2 in, 2 out) fairly simple. lots of trees to provide shade

Not a easy hike, it is steep! Very very steep!

Worth?
Sure..

We did this coming up from the fish hatchery. Pretty blah hike up. Spy Rock almost 360° view pretty cool. Ran into GM and Chef for Devil Backbone brewery on trail. Went and checked DB out after it got 5 stars.

Great loop trail. After coming off Hump back rocks ( incredible views), going clockwise, take AT north...I don't know why we got confused.

Walked in to the camp site and back. Was a difficult walk with the rocky trail but got better along the way. Crowed parking area, but people spread out enough to make a friendly trail but not crowded. Will do it again soon as an overnighter.

Great hike close to wintergreen. When parking, be sure to use the trail entrance on the other side of the road. View point is .5 miles in. We did the full 2.5 but didn’t see another view point after the initial one. Would do it again!

hiking
23 days ago

The parking area is about 1 miles in on an unmarked gravel road (Forest Service right-of-way, but unmarked) so it's not at all obvious. Coordinates for the parking area are N37.91345, W80.00401. The gravel road leading in leaves Morris Hill Road about 100 yds SSW of Laurel Mtn Rd (private). The trail is through mixed hardwoods-pine forest with a heath understory and is easy to follow until you connect with Oliver Mtn Trail the next section of which is a little obscure heading west.

hiking
27 days ago

Really enjoyed this hike. It’s fairly secluded and not overcrowded. There were so many good spots along the trail for camping. Will definitely be coming back to take advantage of that. Most importantly, the dogs loved it too!

Somewhat difficult to run, but a very nice trail. Missed the turn to Glass Hollow Overlook, so be on the look for the turn. Going all the way to the shelter is really nice and well worth it.
I missed having a detailed description of the trail on AllTrails, but I found one online here - https://www.hikingupward.com/GWNF/DobieMountain/

very steep but worth it with that view!!

backpacking
1 month ago

I would rate this hike as difficult. Some of the steepest terrain I have hiked on the AT. Made it an overnighter at Harpers Creek. Very crowded...but enjoyable! The only downside to me were the rocky trails. Really have to watch the ankles. Gorgeous views and some of the prettiest Forrest scenery around!

Fantastic panoramic views from the top. Very many hikers on a Sunday and parking lot was overflowing. Totally dog friendly!

hiking
1 month ago

The trail head for this is not well marked. Park at the boat ramp near the information kiosk and walk back up the road a few yards. The trail head is marked with a little sign on the other side of the guard rail on your right. The trail itself is not well maintained but it is passible. Good views, great exercise, peaceful.

Nice trail for a first time hiker. Not too long but still challenges you with the steep ascent and offers a very rewarding view and interesting rock face at the top. Watch out for mud and ice on colder days in winter/ early spring.

Two amazing views, a mostly uphill experience.. Spent 8 hours on the whole trail including time for pictures.

My son and I did this loop 10 years ago. This time it seemed a lot more challenging than last time. This is not a trip for beginners. The uphill climb to Little bald Knob took a bit longer than anticipated and experienced a sleet storm while we ascended. Yes, crazy Virginia weather. When we got to the stream we had had to cross, the current was stronger than we anticipated so we made a decision to backtrack and cut our trip short instead crossing the stream with our dog. On a positive note, the views and the hike were excellent. It was colder than anticipated and we saw very little wildlife. Still not bad hiking if you like a challenge.

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